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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Freshman Denis Smirnov (Moscow, Russia) potted the fourth hat-trick in program history to lead No. 10 Penn State past Arizona State, 7-4, in non-conference men's ice hockey action this evening from Pegula Ice Arena.
The Nittany Lions improve to 10-1-1 on the year while running their unbeaten streak to 10 games (9-0-1) while the Sun Devils fall to 2-10-0 on the year.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Penn State came out flying as sophomore Andrew Sturtz (Buffalo, N.Y.) fired a shot on net and the rebound bounced right Smirnov who found the open net at 58 seconds of the first period for the 1-0 lead.
- ASU answered as they took advantage of a defensive zone turnover along the end boards and David Norris found Tyler Busch for the equalizer at 8:21 for the 1-1 score.
- Sturtz tilted the score back in favor of the Nittany Lions during a power-play as he tipped a wrist shot from classmate Vince Pedrie (Rochester, Minn.) out front of the goal to beat Sun Devil net-minder Joey Daccord for the 2-1 lead at 12:18 of the opening frame.
- Sturtz added his second of the game under three minutes later to extend the lead with a quick wrist shot off a face-off win by senior Dylan Richard (Sherwood Park, Alb.), Smirnov then tipped home a blast by sophomore Derian Hamilton (Port McNeill, B.C.) just 11 ticks later for the 4-1 margin.
- Arizona State kept pushing and notched their second goal of the opening stanza as Steen Pasichnuk batted the puck out of mid-air and over the shoulder of freshman Peyton Jones (Langhorne, Pa.) for his first career goal and the 4-2 score at 18:10.
- Smirnov then tipped the hat on his night at 3:29 of the second period for the 5-2 lead as he went high-glove off a feed from Richard for the 5-2 lead.
- The Devils continued to fight back as they answered again as Brett Gruber skated through the slot and fired off the post and in beating Jones blocker side at 5:03 of the second period for the 5-3 score.
- ASU came out of the second intermission and got an early score to cut the deficit to a single goal as Jakob Stridsberg found the back of the net at 3:13 for the 5-4 score.
- Freshman Nate Sucese (Fairport, N.Y.) then came up with a huge rebound goal off an initial bid by classmate Nikita Pavlychev (Yaroslavl, Russia) at 13:16 of the third period for the 6-4 lead.
- Hard skating from freshman Liam Folkes (Scarborough, Ont.) and sophomore Alec Marsh (Bridgewater, N.J.) led to another late insurance tally as Marsh registered his first of the campaign at 19:02 for the final score.
Jones stopped 22 pucks for the Lions to improve to 9-0-1 on the year. Daccord only lasted 15:16 for ASU and allowed four goals on 12 shots before being replaced by Ryland Pashovitz who absorbs the loss after making 39 saves over the final 44:44.
- Sturtz extends his goal streak to four games which ties a career-best.
- The 11-second span between Sturtz and Smirnov's second tallies of the opening frame mark the fastest back-to-back scores in program history replacing the 16 seconds it took Taylor Holstrom and Eric Scheid to find the back of the net against Bentley on Halloween night 2014.
- Smirnov becomes just the fourth Nittany Lion to record a hat-trick joining David Glen (2/8/13), Casey Bailey (1/9/15) and Tommy Olczyk (12/11/15). This marks his sixth multi-point game already this season.
- Smirnov continues to lead the nation in freshman scoring and his eight goals is good for second among the rookie class while he ranks fourth in overall scoring with his 20 points.
- With Boston College's 5-2 loss to Harvard this evening, PSU's 10-game unbeaten streak is now the nation's longest and also a new program best.
- Penn State was 1-for-3 with the man-advantage while going 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
- The Nittany Lions outshot the visitors 54-26 marking their third game this season with at-least 50 shots as they improve to 3-0-0 in such contests.
Both teams return to Pegula tomorrow to close out the series with an afternoon matinee set for a 3 p.m. puck drop.